Speed Skating Canada’s Valérie Maltais earns the athlete of the week honour for her dominant performance at the recently concluded Canadian Short Track Team Selection trials in Montreal where she was victorious in six of the nine races.
The format for the trials saw each of the three individual distances contested three times. Only a skater’s top two finishes in each distance were used to calculate the overall results, which helped determine who will represent Canada on the World Cup circuit this fall as well as at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Maltais concluded the trials with six straight wins, taking the top spot twice in each of the 500m, 1000m and 1500m. This gave her the maximum amount of points, ranking her first overall among the women and putting her in line to compete at her second Olympic Winter Games. She made her Olympic debut at Vancouver 2010 where she competed only in the 1500m, having not been selected to race with the 3000m relay team. That gave her extra motivation this time around.
“This decision to not select me was a trigger, because from that moment I promised that I would put all my energy into being among the best,” said Maltais. “I followed my plan to the letter and all my efforts have paid off.”
The World Cup season begins September 26-29 in Shanghai, China. Two World Cup stops, November 7-10 in Turin, Italy and November 14-17 in Kolomna, Russia, will serve as Olympic qualification events. There Maltais and the rest of the Canadian team will be looking to secure the maximum of five women’s quota spots for Sochi 2014.